Distributed Computing

Home: Distributed Computing

Stats Images - Active Projects - Previous Projects - My Hosts - Team Members

External Links: Detailed Team Stats - My Detailed Stats - BOINC - BOINCstats - BAM! - Active DCP Projects

     What is distributed computing? Distributed (or grid) computing is a method of breaking up very large computations into smaller parts, which are then distributed across a local network or the Internet to other computers. By using this approach, a DCP project can do complex calculations with minimal overhead, as they only have to maintain a central server that distributes the work to client computers that are provided by volunteers. These computers can be anywhere around the world (or beyond!), as long as they have access to the Internet. The use for DCP can be everything from analyzing the terrabytes of data collected from radiotelescopes, rendering 3D animations, searching for molecules that could help cure diseases, or to test engingeering structures in a multitude of environments. Grid computing is similar to cluster computing (like the renderfarms used by DreamWorks and Pixar), but instead of using a cluster of identical nodes that are expensive to purchase, run and maintain, each "node" is a regular computer volunteered to work on the project by its owner.

     Why DCP? DCP is designed to be unobtrusive to the user, aside from the client software and maybe a screensaver (depending on the project) that gives you information about the project's progress, and to look cool. Even when you are using your computer for intense applications, it is very rarely using all of its computational power. DCP projects use this spare computational power to do their calculations, all on a volunteer basis. Since there are millions of computers around the world and new ones come into use every day, the potential computing power that exists worldwide is immense. DCP projects aim to try and make some of this useable for a greater purpose. It can also reduce the monetary and energy constraints on an organization, reduce the ammount of new technology an organization has to buy, and keep technology out of the landfill by reducing the need to continually upgrade in order to complete work faster. DCP especially makes sense in home and office computing applications, where cutting-edge technology is purchased to do the same word processing and Internet work that much older computers can do just as efficiently--the extra computing power is used for a DCP project, and not wasted.

     Why BOINC? I use BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), because it is a public platform using open-source software. Thus, anyone can create a public or private BOINC project, and then use the BOINC client and server software to complete work distributed among many client computers. There is also a lot of support for BOINC and the projects making use of it in the community, and it is very easy to use.

     How can I start with DCP? All you have to do is download and install the BOINC software, and sign up for one or more projects. Each project will provide you with the necessary information to sign up and get your computer crunching workunits. Or, you can use an account manager like BAM!, that will allow you to sign up for multiple projects and manage multiple client computers from one website. Visit a project or account manager website, and follow the instructions to sign up.

     Does it use a lot of bandwidth? BOINC has a lot of configuration options, that allow you to choose how often the BOINC client connects to the Internet, and how much work is stored in its queue. You can use BOINC even if you are still using a modem, or only use your computer occasionally.

      How can I track what I've done? Different projects have different goals and outcomes, but all BOINC projects assign credit to hosts in the unit of a cobblestone, which is awarded by a project for work completed. Each project can provide you with detailed stats on the work you've done, or you can use a stats site to track multiple projects, such as BOINCstats.

If you have any questions about BOINC, DCP or the various projects, you can visit any of the links I've posted for more information. Most projects and other community website have forums where you can ask questions, offer suggestion, or just talk DCP.

Stats Images:

Active Projects:

Project Share Description
BURP 1000 A distributed rendering farm comprised of BOINC clients; anyone can submit a project to be rendered as long as they adhere to the project guidelines. Commerical use is not allowed, and the only rendering software that is currently supported is Blender, an open source 3D suite. All renderings are released under a GNU GPL-based license for public viewing. (Windows/Intel Mac/Linux)
Open Rendering Environment 1000 Similar to BURP (uses the same technology) but with a greater focus on the actual production of renderings, rather than the technical development.(Windows/Intel Mac/Linux)
World Community Grid 100 Umbrella project that hosts subprojects that will "benefit humanity". Currenty participating in:
  • The Clean Energy Project (Phase 2): Simulate the use of organic compounds in solar panels, finding new materials that are more efficient and cost effective. (Windows/Intel Mac/Linux)
  • Computing for Clean Water: Search for a cheap and efficient water filter design using carbon nanotubes to increase worldwide access to clean water. (Windows/Mac/Linux)
Enigma@Home 10 Help decipher still unbroken Enigma-coded transmissions from World War II. (Windows/Mac/Linux)
LHC@Home 0
Help LHC engineers identify improve the operation and efficiency of the accelerator, and to predict problems that could arise from adjustment or modification of the LHC's equipment. (Windows/Intel Mac/Linux)
Collatz Conjecture
(Windows/Intel Mac/Linux) Set to GPU only
Einstein@Home 0
Search for Pulsars using data from the LIGO and GEO graviational wave detectors. (Windows/Mac/Linux) Set to GPU only

Previous Projects: Projects that I am no longer participating in, but are still active.

climateprediction.net: Help scientists complete complex climate simulations, to get a better picture of what our future climate could look like. (Windows/Intel Mac/Linux)
Leiden Classical
Rosetta@Home: Runs simulations to find protein structures that will help researchers find cures for diseases. (Windows/Mac/Linux)
SETI@Home: Analyze signals collected from radio telescopes, for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life. (Windows/Mac/Linux)
SIMAP: Help maintain and update a publicly accessible database of information about protein similarities, which is used for all kinds of biological research. (Windows/Mac/Linux)
Spinhenge@Home (Windows/Linux): Help develop magnetic particles for use in various nanotechnology applications.
Virtual Prarie (Windows/Linux)

Retired Projects: Projects that are no longer active.


World Community Grid Completed/Retired Subprojects:

My Hosts:

Hostname Processor (Cores)
OS BOINC Status/Location/Fate
     Currently Active:

iBook G3 300 G3 300 MHz 288 MB 10 GB
OS X 10.3.9 6.6.36 Secondary Laptop
PowerMac Dual G5
2x G5 1.8 GHz
2 GB
250 GB

OS X 10.5.8
Workbench Computer
Gateway-DVR P4 2.8 GHz w/HT (2)
2 GB 500 GB
7 Home Premium
7.0.25 Home Media Center
AscendTech Athlon64 X2 6000+ (2)
8 GB 500 GB Radeon HD 4670 1 GB (480)
7 Home Premium
7.0.25 Home Office/Gaming
MacBook Pro* Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz (2)
4 GB 250 GB GeForce 320M 256 MB (136)
OS X 10.6.8 7.0.25 Home Laptop
iMac i5
i5 2400S 2.5 GHz (4)
16 GB
500 GB
Radeon HD 6750M 512 MB (576)
OS X 10.8.2
Home Office

*Laptops restricted to 60% core useage to prevent overheating
     Rarely Active:

iMac Rev. A G3 233 MHz 320 MB 6 GB
OS X 10.3.9 5.10.32
iMac Rev. D G3 333 MHz 384 MB 10 GB
OS X 10.3.9 6.2.18 Shop Computer
Power Machintosh G3 400 G3 400 MHz 512 MB 20 GB
OS X 10.3.9 6.2.18
PowerMac G4 Quicksilver
G4 733 MHz
768 MB
40 GB

OS X 10.4.11

Mac Mini G4
G4 1.42 MHz
1 GB
120 GB

OS X 10.5.8


Power Macintosh G3 Beige 233 G3 233 MHz 128 MB 4 GB
OS X 10.3.9 5.10.34 Sold
Computerstop K6-II 300 MHz 256 MB 4 GB
Windows XP Pro SP1
Sold on eBay
Globenet K6-II 350 MHz 128 MB 4 GB
Windows XP Pro SP1
Sold on eBay
Power Macintosh G3 Beige 400 G3 400 MHz 128 MB 10 GB
OS X 10.3.9 5.10.45 Sold
Tccomputers Pentium II 450 MHz 256 MB 8 GB
Windows XP Pro SP2 5.10.45 Sold on eBay
Monorail Celeron 500 MHz 256 MB 6 GB
Windows XP Pro SP2 5.10.45 Sold on eBay
Antec Pentium III 500 MHz 128 MB 10 GB
Windows XP Pro SP1
Dead; Salvaged
Enlight Pentium III 550 MHz 384 MB 20 GB
Ubuntu Linux 8.04 6.2.12 Sold on eBay
CTL1kp3 Pentium III 1.0 GHz 768 MB 30 GB
Windows XP Pro SP2 6.4.7 Work (Laid off)
Duron 1100 MHz
512 MB
20 GB

Ubuntu Linux 8.10
Sold on eBay
iMac G5 1.8GHz G5 1.8 GHz 1 GB 250 GB
OS X 10.4.11 5.10.45 Trade-In on MacBook Pro
P4 2.8 GHz w/HT (2)
2 GB
160 GB

Vista Home Premium SP1
Sold to debco33
Dell Dimension 1100 Pentium 4 3.0 GHz 1 GB 40 GB
Windows XP Pro SP2 6.4.7 Work (Laid off)
Averatec P4 3.0 GHz w/HT (2)
1 GB 40 GB
Windows XP Pro SP2 5.10.45 Dead; Sold on eBay
PowerEdge Athlon64 3200+ 1.25 GB 80 GB
Windows XP Pro SP3 6.2.18 Dead
Athlon64X2 Athlon64 X2 4200+ (2)
2 GB 160 GB
Windows XP Pro SP2
Sold to heartwood49
MacBook Pro* Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz (2)
2 GB 200 GB GeForce 8600M GT 256 MB (91)
OS X 10.5.6 6.10.43 Stolen 7/17/10!

Active Team Members:
Names link to their user stats page at BOINCstats.

Hostname Processor (Cores)
     Darrell Bennett
P4 2.8 GHz w/HT (2)
2 GB
160 GB
Vista Home Premium SP1
     Lanell Bennett
Athlon64X2 Athlon64 X2 4200+ (2)
2 GB 160 GB Windows XP Pro SP2 7.0.25
VALUED-D6A54265 Mobile Athlon 1600+ 256 MB 10 GB Windows XP Home  
urakki-ca0f9ce9 Athlon64 X2 5200+ (2)
2 GB 40 GB Windows XP Pro SP2 5.10.45

Inactive Team Members: